Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, January 30, 2012

QOTW: Never thought of it that way

Just a quickie.

Shin_getter over at Failheap puts an interesting spin on a problem that we all see:
Modifying the game is tricky when most of the complains involves OTHER PEOPLE's experiences. Non-incursion runners whine about incursion income. Subcap pilots whine about supercapital pilots. NPC null/WH/small gang folks whine about the lack of small gang in sov blob space. Non-NC whine about NC bridge network. Non-drake pilots whine about drake fleets. Pirates whine about easy logistics done by a completely different type of players. Blob fleets whine about how they can't get into a wormhole (lol CSM). Careless highsec guys complain about suicide gankers. Miners complain about dronelanders. Carebears complain about AFK cloakers.....

Fixing the game is infinitely easier if players are trying to fix their own experiences as opposed to "zomg those "insert group" is so terribad and exploiting the shitz out of everything and should die/nerf/ban/nuke/dd/etc."
It's an interesting perspective, and one that I for one hadn't thought about before!  That said, it's not exactly a silver bullet.  Botters certainly aren't going to fix the issues with botting, after all...

Don't have much more to say about this one, other than I thought the perspective was interesting.  The question is, do I believe it enough to stop talking about those few things in EVE that I haven't done, such as volleying a dictor in a Titan, for instance?  That, I'm not so sure about.  ;-)  After all, I've been on the receiving end of such things, so that doesn't make me an entirely disinterested party.

Does it?


  1. Thanks for highlighting that statement. I totally agree with the sentiment, understanding that there are exceptions. It is sort of like asking people where government should cut back... the answer is invariably everywhere that doesn't affect them. 99% of the time it is just better to leave things well enough alone.

    The problem of course is that there seems to be obvious exceptions. 90 Titans were built in December. Production at that rate completely changes the nature of the game. CCP should have fixed supercaps long before we got to this stage. But now that we are there it is a huge problem. Do you nerf 90 player's experiences, or do you accept the fact that Titan's are a new part of small gang warfare.

  2. I don't see people with tons of money complaining about tax breaks either.
    *cue political shitstorm*

    Kinda obvious; if you have something that gives you an edge over someone else, of course you don't want to give it up. And if you don't have it, you want it. Everything would be stagnant otherwise. It's the MAJOR differences that shouldn't exist on a conceptual level (icebergs clubbing seals, for instance) that need to be whacked at.

  3. Totally aside from the point, but most pirates I know whine (if they whine about anything really) about the sad state of lowsec/pirating, not about the easy logistics of others...in fact, I don't think I've ever heard that whine.

  4. EVE is a sandbox game, you are free to choose what to bitch about and not what to bitch about.

    That is why we play it, lots better then having devs tell us what to bitch about all the time.

  5. I never understood this...if you like what someone else is doing...go do it.

    Incursions make to much isk...then run Incursions
    0.0 pilots mine safer than 0.5 pilots..then join an alliance
    Think drakes are OP...fly a drake

  6. There is a difference between, say, a car driver complaining that trucks are dangerous because they saw one pedestrian getting hit by a truck, versus a hospital actuary complaining that trucks are dangerous because they see more pedestrians hit by trucks than would be expected given truck-road-hours versus car-road-hours.

    You'll get far less complaining from the people who a particular quirk of the game rules favours, than from the people who suffer from the quirk, or the bystanders who notice that there is a quirk.

    Balancing a game is infinitely harder if you rely on the people exploiting the quirk to tell you about the quirk. Ignoring the voices of the bystanders complaining that the quirk exists means the quirk will never get addressed. Well, at least not until a game developer becomes a regular victim of the quirk.

    Balancing a game relies on the developer knowing what they want from the game, taking in the evidence (as opposed to the accusations) and deciding whether the quirk is within their "design intent" for the game or not. As long as CCP have a clear idea of whether they expect Titans to be solopwnmobiles or not, they'll be able to figure out whether the number of interceptors killed by tracking Titans is reasonable.

    The plural of anecdote is not data. Even your own tracking Tornado vs interceptor killmail for example only provides evidence that a tornado hit an interceptor: there is no information about how the interceptor was flying ("he's a really good pilot" doesn't mean diddlysquat: the other tornados didn't hit him, but yours did: what does that tell you?).

    On the other hand, the plural of anecdote is data: there are so many people complaining about titans shooting sub caps, that perhaps there is something to be investigated here. Is it simply player expectations (the common refrain is, "titans shouldn't be able to hit sub caps" even though the published and widely known hit chance formula says "it is improbable for a titan to hit an interceptor"), or a problem with the game design (e.g.: is tracking or sig resolution of XL turrets too good?).

    Balancing a game also involves being careful about understanding a particular game mechanic in the environment that it is most used, before making adjustments to that mechanic. For example, rebalancing XL guns to be slow and blind would adversely impact dreadnoughts. Perhaps the siege mode could increase tracking and reduce resolution, rather than turning dreadnoughts into big bertha cannons that cannot be aimed. One change to one mechanic in a game as complex as EVE Online means you have to look at all the other mechanics that are linked to it.

    I only use that example because it's topical, even though you're not talking about tracking anymore.

    And remember: for all chance-based mechanics you have to understand not just the place of that mechanic in the great web of interacting mechanics of EVE, but you have to understand statistics, chance and probability. The current to-hit formula means that it is never "impossible" to shoot a target, just "highly improbable" (except where the probability is so small that it gets rounded/truncated to zero due to the representation of floating point numbers in the calculations).

    1. >Balancing a game relies on the developer knowing what they want from the game

      What incarna showed is that balancing the game relies on the developer NOT having a notion of what they want from the game that allows them to override player reality. That said players wedded to their perspective is not that much better.

      Its funny really, the current supercap situation is the result of player balancing ideas and not :ccp: I still remember how mittens put his voting block behind the damage dealing super carrier idea which latter proven to be unacceptable. The same is with changing titans from a narrow use glasscannon mega-smartbomb that have limited appeal to individual level pilots into a normal ship that rat in sanctums at unparalleled efficiency....
      As I see it, the whole Titans issue is simply the age old "vets with money and isk find endgame I win button" that is normally universally accepted in RPG games that is not Eve since that is the point. There is already so many titan pilots and so many pilots saving money and training characters to become a titan pilot. For a classic "achieving grinder RPG player" this should really have been completely natural. If one removes all end game power-gaming contents you'd have unsubs (at least unsubbed alts training for those roles).

      Now supercap warfare have other problems like blobs and distortions to sov warfare. However fundamentally it is not too different from the Nano-age complaints, where a group of endgame vets find another set of I-win-button and get it violently nerfed by demands from the rest of the player base. That said, I do wonder if nano-age development tree works better for the game. Let those with trillions be powerful in small groups, but die horribly to blobs of mid-level characters.

  7. It's a very needed perspective. One that is seemingly lacking in most online discussion about any game, really. It's called critical thinking.

    To be fair, it's easy to say, but very hard to honestly do, especially if one is trying to take an objective look at something that gives the home side an advantage. Nothing wrong with interested parties weighing in on subjects - I would argue having interested, passionate parties talking about what works and what doesn't is better than a bunch of people who really don't care.

    As long as those interested parties are able to keep their critical thinking hats on and examine the issue(s) as a whole and not within the narrow frame of self-interest.

    It is, in fact, what the CSM was supposed to, in theory, do for us, the (entire) playerbase.

  8. Well Jester, beeing on the reciving end is pretty much what gets people workeed up in the first place, dont you agree? :)

  9. Each part of the game doesn't exist in a vacuum. Ergo, they need to be balanced together, hence all the whining about 'other' people.

    No way around it really, its just part of the game.

  10. Ever played Settlers of Catan? When there is a rare commodity on trade and each player starts pointing out how the other player is closer to winning so they should get the Trade? It's a bit like that. It's the EVE meta game and it's not surprising.

    Even here, Jester has his own particular view on what they want from EVE and they further that particular view. *shrug*

  11. @ Anon 30/1 05:39 - I don't think anyone is denying it's part of the game, I think the point of the quote is:

    if players spent as much time looking inwards and helped fix the problems relating to the parts of the game they have a vested interest in, rather then spending all the time bit*hing about others, the game would be much easier for CCP to balance.

    on a personal note, I honestly believe you need both perspectives, right now you get nerf and buff, it's always been the way, typically you end up with an oscillation over iteration between overpowered and never used. With each iterative cycle the variance between "balance" should reduce as the waveform collapses. In otherword's if done right each balancing attempt gets closer to balance, otherwise, there are other issues at hand.

    CCP has done more and more over the years to try to test balances, SiSi/mass tests has helped them greatly, but with such a small sample, and so many variables, you can't hope to achieve balance on the first pass.

    If both sides of an issue within the community, the pro users and those that complain (one force causing nerf, the other buff) worked together on one topic CCP would also have much more factor input allowing them to solve the equation much faster, causing less peaks, and less severe gradients.

  12. T2 BPC inventors complain about T2 BPO owners... oh wait...

    1. And I wonder why neither are complaining about T2 BPC drops.

      I guess they don't know about it, and in this case it's just a matter of time.

  13. People need to accept the fact that Titans are now a part of small gang warfare and are no longer reserved for large entities. Incursions especially have made it possible for many 2nd rate b-squad renter alliances to fund and field their own titan and while they may not use it on the field, it gives them titan bridge capabilities. Meaning that the proliferation of getting hotdropped by an enemy fleet is just going to get worse.

    While there has been talk about jump bridges, noone has mentioned nerfing titan bridges, which as far as i'm concerned allow you to project power in a manner with far more devastating effects. In the past this was becuase titan bridges were a lot less common, but nowadays you have so many people with this capabilitity you can't really come close to making the same claim.

    1. It's even worse than this, I personally can afford and could fly my own Titan.... A small corporation of 50 members could easily project a force in the manner you are describe, without the need of even an alliance.

      If it wasn't for not wanting to become a huge bullseye and losing one of my main char's to do it, I may have even considered it.

      Personally, I have no issues with this, I have no intention of doing so, but if that's how people want to spend their ISK, instead of on an armada of useful ships, by all means. Titan Bridging is still expensive and the logistics and background work required to protect and employ a titan still requires organisation and cunning, on the premise if you get caught by the same hot-drop more then twice who's fault is it anyway!

      Basically, you may be able to do something, doesn't mean you can defend it or that it's the most practical thing to do.

  14. While it looks profound at first glance, it's actually just another way of framing the same discussion. This is because everything in Eve is interlinked - most of the time people aren't complaining about someone else's play style in isolation, they're complaining about how their own play style is impacted by it. The discussion might be worded in a slightly different way, but the message is identical.

    Instead of complaining about the isk from incursions relative to other isk sources, players would complain that X, Y or Z income source makes less isk relative to incursions.

    Instead of complaining that supercapital ships kill subcaps too easily, subcapital pilots would complain that their ships are too easily killed by supercaps.

    Instead of complaining about suicide gankers, the highsec carebear would complain about the fact that they get suicide ganked.


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